noun con·no·ta·tion \ ˌkä-nə-ˈtā-shən \
|Updated on: 13 Aug 2018

Definition of connotation

1 a : something suggested by a word or thing : implication
  • the connotations of comfort that surrounded that old chair
b : the suggesting of a meaning by a word apart from the thing it explicitly names or describes
2 : the signification of something
  • … that abuse of logic which consists in moving counters about as if they were known entities with a fixed connotation.
  • —William Ralph Inge
3 : an essential property or group of properties of a thing named by a term in logic — compare denotation


play \ˌkä-nə-ˈtā-shnəl, -shə-nᵊl\ adjective

Examples of connotation in a Sentence

  1. Miuccia Prada, a connoisseur of vintage jewelry, has a collection of tiaras and subverts their formal connotations by wearing them for the day. —Hamish BowlesVogueMarch 1997
  2. Suddenly, Hsun-ching brightened. "So this is propaganda?" Alison did not know that, in Chinese, the word for propaganda literally means to spread information, and does not carry any negative connotations. —Mark SalzmanThe Laughing Sutra1991
  3. The word "evolution," with its connotation of unrolling, of progressive development, was not favored by Darwin; he preferred the bleak phrase "descent with modification" for his theory. —John UpdikeNew Yorker30 Dec. 1985
  4. a word with negative connotations

  5. For many people, the word “fat” has negative connotations.

  6. The word “childlike” has connotations of innocence.

Recent Examples of connotation from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'connotation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

What’s the difference between connotation and denotation ?

Connotation and denotation are easily confused, and the fact that neither word is particularly common in everyday use makes it difficult for many people to get a firm grip on the difference between them. While each of these two words has several possible meanings, they are notably distinct from each other in all senses. Denotation is concerned with explicit meaning, and connotation tends to be concerned with implicit meaning. The word home, for instance, has a denotation of “the place (such as a house or apartment) where a person lives,” but it may additionally have many connotations (such as “warmth,” “security,” or “childhood”) for some people.

Origin and Etymology of connotation

CONNOTATION Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of connotation for English Language Learners

  • : an idea or quality that a word makes you think about in addition to its meaning

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